Full Statute Name:  United States Code Annotated. Title 7. Agriculture. Chapter 54. Transportation, Sale, and Handling of Certain Animals. § 2158. Protection of pets.

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Popular Title:  Pet Theft Prevention Act Primary Citation:  7 USC 2158 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  March, 2024 Date Adopted:  1990 Historical: 
Summary: This section of the AWA prohibits shelters from selling found pets within a period of five days to any random-source organization. The purpose of the Act is to prevent animals from being stolen and purchased from humane societies in order to use the animals for scientific testing or illegal purposes (such as fighting, etc.).

(a) Holding period

(1) Requirement

In the case of each dog or cat acquired by an entity described in paragraph (2), such entity shall hold and care for such dog or cat for a period of not less than five days to enable such dog or cat to be recovered by its original owner or adopted by other individuals before such entity sells such dog or cat to a dealer.

(2) Entities described

An entity subject to paragraph (1) is--

(A) each State, county, or city owned and operated pound or shelter;

(B) each private entity established for the purpose of caring for animals, such as a humane society, or other organization that is under contract with a State, county, or city that operates as a pound or shelter and that releases animals on a voluntary basis; and

(C) each research facility licensed by the Department of Agriculture.

(b) Certification

(1) In general

A dealer may not sell, provide, or make available to any individual or entity a random source dog or cat unless such dealer provides the recipient with a valid certification that meets the requirements of paragraph (2) and indicates compliance with subsection (a) of this section.

(2) Requirements

A valid certification shall contain--

(A) the name, address, and Department of Agriculture license or registration number (if such number exists) of the dealer;

(B) the name, address, Department of Agriculture license or registration number (if such number exists), and the signature of the recipient of the dog or cat;

(C) a description of the dog or cat being provided that shall include--

(i) the species and breed or type of such;

(ii) the sex of such;

(iii) the date of birth (if known) of such;

(iv) the color and any distinctive marking of such; and

(v) any other information that the Secretary by regulation shall determine to be appropriate;

(D) the name and address of the person, pound, or shelter from which the dog or cat was purchased or otherwise acquired by the dealer, and an assurance that such person, pound, or shelter was notified that such dog or cat may be used for research or educational purposes;

(E) the date of the purchase or acquisition referred to in subparagraph (D);

(F) a statement by the pound or shelter (if the dealer acquired the dog or cat from such) that it satisfied the requirements of subsection (a) of this section; and

(G) any other information that the Secretary of Agriculture by regulation shall determine appropriate.

(3) Records

The original certification required under paragraph (1) shall accompany the shipment of a dog or cat to be sold, provided, or otherwise made available by the dealer, and shall be kept and maintained by the research facility for a period of at least one year for enforcement purposes. The dealer shall retain one copy of the certification provided under this paragraph for a period of at least one year for enforcement purposes.

(4) Transfers

In instances where one research facility transfers animals to another research facility a copy of the certificate must accompany such transfer.

(5) Modification

Certification requirements may be modified to reflect technological advances in identification techniques, such as microchip technology, if the Secretary determines that adequate information such as described in this section, will be collected, transferred, and maintained through such technology.

(c) Enforcement

(1) In general

Dealers who fail to act according to the requirements of this section or who include false information in the certification required under subsection (b) of this section, shall be subject to the penalties provided for under section 2149 of this title.

(2) Subsequent violations

Any dealer who violates this section more than one time shall be subject to a fine of $5,000 per dog or cat acquired or sold in violation of this section.

(3) Permanent revocations

Any dealer who violates this section three or more times shall have such dealers license permanently revoked.

(d) Regulation

Not later than 180 days after November 28, 1990 , the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to carry out this section.


(Pub.L. 89-544, § 28, as added Pub.L. 101-624, Title XXV, § 2503(2), Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4066, and amended Pub.L. 102-237, Title X, § 1004, Dec. 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 1894.)


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